ACCORDING to Wikipedia: “A saint is a person who is recognised as having an exceptional degree of holiness, or likeness to God.” In other words, a saint is beyond human, he is in the spiritual realm and infallible. He cannot be faulted because all he does is right in line with the traits of the Almighty God. Who can question the Almighty God? Because of this, man has decided to capitalise on the phrase, “I am no saint”, to explain away his frailties.

When called upon to answer to some behavioural conducts that tended towards criminality, man will say he is not a saint, under the guise that every human being is liable to mistakes. But, there are mistakes and there are mistakes. Mistakes that are personal to you, that will not negatively affect a third party is allowed, nobody will fight you for that. A mistake that is allowed to cause negative influences on third parties is not acceptable by societal standards and that is why there are checks and balances. That is why there are laws and procedures to put such negative mistakes in check.

The country is experiencing a gradual change in our standards of measurement, of viewing negative behaviours; of accepting lies as truths, of ‘conscienceless’ men posing as messiahs of the people. If our politicians do not inculcate the right values on the people, there will surely be obstacles ahead for this nation.

Some of the sufferings being experienced in this country today are as a result of the poor foundations laid by the founders. It was founded on distrusts and battles for ethnic and religious hegemonies. Our fathers are dead now but the children have taken over, based on the culture that they have been fed on. There was a time in this country, between the 70’s,   80’s and 90’s when examination malpractices were the order of the day. The graduates of that era are now leaders in the society. Tell me, what values these ones will pass on to the younger ones as role models? Also, we have seen parents of considerable means manipulating the admission of their children to schools at the detriments of those who have passed on merit. Tell me, what morals these ones have to pass on to the generations coming after them?

I am bringing out these examples because the challenges that Nigeria is facing as a nation are complex and multi- dimensional in nature, if you attack it from one direction you will fail and that is why a holistic approach is recommended for any one desirous of making a change.

The simple lies of the sixties have transformed into a monstrous propaganda machinery that even the Nazi master propagandist Joeseph Goebbels will be seething in envy where ever he is now; we have surpassed all of the standards. The most frightening aspect is the fact that our educated and enlightened ones are lending credence to these lies. I was comparing two politicians on my Facebook page; one from the South-South and the other from the South West. The one from the South-South is presently serving jail sentence for corruption crimes he committed while in office, while the one from the South West is presently one of the political lords of the land. And you know the answer a friend gave to me? “Our guy is smart now”. When sentiments are in favour of your group it is right, when the same is expressed in relation to another group it becomes wrong and criminal.

We must be careful in this country. The greatest fraud you can commit against a people is that of dis-information. When you feed the people with wrong information, you are afflicting them with the poverty of the mind and when such a situation occurs, anything can happen. What do you think is responsible for the ISIS and Boko Haram ideology? It is poverty of the mind, it is advanced through ethnic, religious and racial sentiments. Once ignited, it becomes a consuming fire. The reality is starkly facing us here in Nigeria today: Boko Haram is not caused by poverty, it is the result of wrongly fed information on a malleable and disconnected people.

That is why our politicians must be careful with the manner they make statements in the name of politics. The way our politicians disgracefully and without conscience. To be fair, it did not start today; under the PDP, especially with the Olusegun Obasanjo’s government. So many promises were made, I did not see one fulfilled; power, roads,infrastructures, employment and others. They will give you a deadline for completion and when the date is due without fulfilment, no explanation is given for this. They were so arrogant and disdainful of the people.

Now, the APC government must take note; the fact that the people accepted this nonsense from the PDP all these years does not mean that they will accept it again; the people are now better informed. This government came in with a lot of promises to the people and the people have great expectations; therefore, this government must disconnect from the lies of the past. Our politicians must exhibit exemplary conducts for the coming generations to emulate.

Report has it that the late General Murtala Mohammed purged himself of all ill-gotten wealth when he came to power; he showed personal example through his conduct. Everybody wants change but the people ruling us have not displayed exceptional conduct for the youths and coming generation to learn from. You field candidates who have issues with the EFCC for elections and you want people to believe in your change? As it is now, change means different things to different people, depending on the side you are on. Our politics is crowded by bad men who got their wealth and positions through questionable circumstances. The ones we need are those who genuinely want the course of this country to change for the better, who truly love this country and who are ready to make the necessary sacrifice to reach the goal, not the ones pretending to be Saints.

Mr. Sunny Ikhioya, a commentator on national issues, wrote from Lagos.


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